The strike announced for the 11th of April , which took place in three most important provinces of the region of Cajamarca, came to an end without any incidents. No confrontations with the police were reported, the interprovincial transport went fluently.
The different social organizations and peasant self-defense patrols (rondas campesinas) accentuated their call to reject megaproject Conga of the mining company Yanacocha. Moreover they announced to take action if the publication of the government-initiated international expert-report on the Environmental Impact Assessment, which is expected to be published in a few days, is in favor of the mining company. This would result in a mobilization to the mountain lakes to prevent any further activity from the mining company. Manuel Ramos, president of the Defense Front of Valle El Tambo (Frente de Defensa del Valle El Tambo) from the province Hualgayoc added that they will stay at the mountain lakes as long as necessary; “we do not want a “Congazo”, we are a peaceful people, but we will defend our mountain lakes, our natural resources and our lives; everything that could happen will be the responsibility of the president of the Council of Ministers Óscar Valdes and of the president Ollanta Humala.”
The strike, convoked by the Unified Command of the Struggle (Comando Unitario de Lucha), took many forms; students and peasants occupied the main roads of the city, commercial centers and local shops closed their doors in the historic centre of the city, in the morning students and university staff occupied the university thereby preventing classes going through. In Celendin and Hualgayoc, the two provinces closest to Cajamarca, there was a similar strike.
Marco Arana condemned the militarization and the “legal persecution” of the leaders and main figures of the protest. If this criminalization continued, this could end up in civil disobedience, he added. “If the laws are not just, we will have to ignore them”, he concluded.
Ydelso Hernándes, spokesman of the Unified Command of the Struggle, and Wilfred Saavedra, president of the Environmental Defense Front of Cajamarca, called upon the different organizations to join forces in this struggle for the environment, against the Conga-project.
(Source of text: La República, april 12, 2012. Source of photos: CATAPA)